Retailing: Brand-Name Field Trips

The field trip for the 24 kindergartners from Woodside Avenue School has all the noisy excitement of the old-fashioned kind, with kids tumbling out of a school bus eager to see, hear and touch things outside their classroom. But the field-trip destination is not the usual venue, like a museum or zoo. It's a Petco store. Tour guide Jennifer Rohan, manager of the Ramsey, N.J., pet-supply emporium, lets the kids pet a quivering chinchilla ($129.99, food and shelter sold separately), squawk at a taciturn macaw named Oscar ($2,399.99) and find Nemo the clown fish ($14.99). An hour later, the children are...

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